A Jewish Labour MP has said she feels “unwelcome” in the party after a video emerged showing Jeremy Corbyn accusing British Zionists of having “no sense of English irony”.
Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger described the Labour leader’s comments, in a 2013 speech, as “inexcusable”.
The clip was published on the Daily Mail website as Mr Corbyn makes efforts to tackle anti-Semitism in his party.
An ally of Mr Corbyn said his remarks had been “taken out of context”.
Labour’s Moral Vacuum
Corbyn’s antisemitism makes Jewish MPs feel unwelcome in his party. It is time for the party to tell him he is no longer welcome as its leader
For too long the leader of the opposition has tolerated antisemitism in his party. For too long he has dragged his feet amid a growing clamour from inside and outside the Labour movement to stamp it out. Now Jeremy Corbyn is revealed as straightforwardly antisemitic himself. That is the conclusion any reasonable listener must draw from a 2013 speech in London in which he claimed that “Zionists” did not want to study history and “don’t understand English irony either”.
The speech used the word “Zionists” as a synonym for “Jews” and as a term of casual abuse. It sought to depict British Jews as alien to British culture, and wilfully ignorant of it despite “having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives”. John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has said Mr Corbyn’s remarks have been taken out of context and that Mr Corbyn has dedicated his career to the pursuit of peace. To take such evasions at face value is at best naive.
Jeremy Corbyn: Zionists in Britain just don’t grasp irony
Jeremy Corbyn claimed that Zionists in Britain “don’t understand English irony” in a speech that appeared to portray Jews as an alien culture.
Luciana Berger, a Jewish Labour MP, said that the Labour leader’s comments, caught on camera at a pro-Palestinian event, were “inexcusable” and made her feel unwelcome in the party.
Mr Corbyn has been fighting claims of antisemitism in his party for most of the three years of his leadership. The latest disclosure is the most damaging blow yet to his claims that he opposes prejudice against Jews. Jamie Susskind, a former speechwriter for Ed Miliband, called on the Labour leader to resign.
Jeremy Corbyn’s latest comments could be final straw
Jeremy Corbyn’s latest comments are qualitatively different from anything that has come before.
Until now, Mr Corbyn has been accused of appearing on platforms with antisemites, appearing to endorse antisemites, putting wreaths on the graves of those who murder Jews and endorsing an antisemitic mural. But never before has been accused of saying something so directly and unequivocally antisemitic.
So this is different.
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